Holbrook: Smith exit and Wilkin’s harsh sin-binning cost us the game

Justin Holbrook believes the loss of Matty Smith during Thursday’s game at Leeds was a key factor in Saints’ 24-22 defeat.

Smith was forced out of the game at Headingley after just six minutes after catching a stray arm from his captain Jon Wilkin as they attempted a tackle.

Doctors were unable to stitch the wound and Smith was taken to hospital.

“He is our main organiser and it made it harder on us for sure – to nearly get away with it would have been huge,” said Holbrook.

“Matty is in a bad way. It wasn’t just a cut, he got his eyelid ripped open. Hopefully, he will be alright. We couldn’t stitch it so he had to go to hospital. Hopefully it isn’t damaged but it is a lot worse than a cut.

“I speak for everyone involved in the club in hoping he is okay.”

England internationals Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall got the all-important tries in the last 16 minutes that enabled Leeds to come from 16-12 down, but Holbrook says Wilkin’s sin-binning midway through the second half was another crucial moment in the game.

“I thought the sin-binning was massive and I thought it was harsh too,” he added.

“But to not have it go all your own way, lose a half-back, have a man in the sin-bin, have a lopsided penalty count and nearly win a game against quality opposition on their home ground shows the players love playing for each other.

“I was just as proud of the boys tonight as I was last week – we didn’t get two points but for the game to go the way it did showed some character.

“You can’t take anything away from Leeds – they haven’t been happy with how they have been playing and rectified some of that tonight.

“They had us under pressure for a lot of the game so to nearly be able to win certainly isn’t an issue of how we performed away from home tonight.

“We know we need to string some wins together, we understand that, but as I said I was just as proud tonight as I was last week.

“But we didn’t get the two points and that hurt us.”


  1. I have said before,and will say again-Wilkin is a liability,and how he keeps getting into the team,let alone be captain is beyond me.The tackle he made was dangerous,and could have done untold damage to his neck.To put your play maker,albeit accidental is reckless in the extreme and to kick through into opponents hands as he does so often,is unforgiveable.Make no mistake,he lost Saints the match.-drop him.

  2. A lot of mistakes by both sides., but on the night the best team won , St. Helens got away with a few things the ref should look down the side a bit more, off side lots of times not standing square, Roby leaning on and holding down. That’s not yo say Leeds where great they should have been penalised a couple of times too. Hope Matty Smith is ok and the injury can be sorted with out major surgery. But really their coach should hold his hands up and say they lost to a better team on the night but Leeds did have a bit of luck as well. I SAY IT AS I SEE IT.

  3. Hope Matty smith ok as I’m a Wigan fan and a fan of smith but to me they we’re two bad sides just the same as my side a the minute

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